UNESCO provides financial support to restore ancient caravansary in Iran

July 26, 2020 - 21:33

TEHRAN - The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has provided financial support to restore an ancient caravansary, which is located in Savojbolagh county, Alborz province, northern Iran.

“UNESCO has paid six billion rials (nearly $142,000 at the official rate of 42,000 rials) for the restoration of the historic caravansary of Yingi Imam in this county,” IRNA quoted Savojbolagh tourism chief Alireza Tahmasbi as saying on Sunday.

“This caravansary is being rehabilitated within the framework of the UNESCO [and the European Union] partnership project on Silk Roads Heritage Corridors [in Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia],” the official noted.

He noted that the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts has so far sent over 20 billion rials (about $475,000) for the restoration of the caravansary, adding “Presently, a contractor is repairing the four domes of the caravansary vestibules, including removing the coatings, strengthening the worn bricks under the inner shell of the domes.”

The caravansary is one of the most important forms of Persian architecture, which emerged across the Silk Roads, and offers a unique venue for exchanging goods and traditions among travelers coming from the most diverse cultures. It lies approximately 17 kilometers west of Karaj on the Tehran-Qazvin road. Stylistically, this building dates to the 17th/11th century AH.

The building takes the form of a square with a central courtyard. At the center of the courtyard is a square platform accessed via a short flight of stairs. Four iwans open onto the courtyard at the center of its four sides. The corners of the courtyard are angled, and passageways lead off of these corners onto octagonal domed halls. Between the iwans and the corner passages are three shallow alcoves opening onto three small chambers (making for a total of six on each side of the courtyard). The octagonal domed halls lead onto wide corridors that run behind the aforementioned chambers.

According to the UN cultural body, UNESCO and the European Union launched the project “Silk Roads Heritage Corridors in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Iran – International Dimension of the European Year of Cultural Heritage” in October 2018. The overall project objective is to strengthen the contribution of culture to sustainable progress, notably through heritage-based tourism development, diversification of tourism products, and delivery of high-quality visitor experiences along the Silk Roads heritage corridors in the participating countries.

Within the framework of this project, several Silk Roads heritage sites in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Iran will be selected for conservation/restoration, rehabilitation, and promotion to reveal their importance for the cultural identity of the region and for promoting intercultural dialogue and social cohesion. Historically, the Silk Road was a network of trade routes connecting China and the Far East with West Asia and Europe.

For thousands of years, the Silk Roads have connected civilizations and brought peoples and cultures in contact with each other from across the world, permitting not only an exchange of goods but also an interaction of ideas and cultures that have shaped our world today.

This project is jointly implemented by UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office and Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) with the financial support of the European Union.

AFM/MG

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